Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Smart Bitches Sony Rest Drive

The Sony Reader test drive over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books in in full swing! I'm head over heels for my 505, and fellow test driver Billie is adoring her 700.

Check out the hilarious first review from Billie over at Smart Bitches.

If you are even considering the pros and cons on an ereader, you should follow these reviews. We're a random group of reviewers giving you our honest ups and downs with the Sony. You're sure to find a reviewer who has your reading habits and opinions on print versus ebooks, and that should be helpful in deciding if an ereader is right for you.

Happy Reading!
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Cheeky Book Review: Bunco Babes Tell All by Maria Geraci


Review:Bunco Babes Tell All
By Maria Geraci
Berkley Books
5 Heart Review
Buy From Amazon

Woman cannot live by Bunco alone!

Meet the Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay. Every Thursday night they roll dice, drink frozen margaritas, and catch up on all the gossip in their small north Florida town. Kitty Burke is the only Bunco Babe who is still single – which is okay – but she's thirty-five and may need to face the fact that her image of Mr. Right is all wrong.

Take Steve. Very sexy, but – with three failed marriages and a shady career – on paper he is not great husband material. And yes, his ringtone is “Free Bird.” Fellow Babes Shea and Pilar certainly vote thumbs-down. But maybe there's more to Steve than meets the eye? Is it time for Kitty to take a chance and hope that she can be as lucky in love as she is in Bunco?
Sometimes I run across a book that I enjoy so much that I can't help but wish the characters would invite me over to play sometime. That was exactly how I felt after reading Bunco Babes Tell All by the very talented Maria Geraci! In fact, I've wanted to crash her Bunco night and beg her to be my friend – since I only live a few hours away I've really had to restrain myself!

This book gave me the same sense of longing for a group of strong female friends as Sex and the City had. These women are not only believable, but you'll want them as your closest pals. They'll be your support network and the ones making you laugh out loud. They come to life as you turn the page, and I felt deeply connected to them. It takes a great writer to pull the reader in so deeply and I can't wait to read the next books in Maria's Bunco Babes series.

The story of Kitty and Steve was delightful to read and I loved them as characters. Each is interesting in their own right which makes the payoff when they come together even better! From the first meeting that includes bathroom humor, mistaken identity AND a male stripper, to the obstacles they overcome, I was under their spell. This book's characters had me thinking about them days after having finished the book and I'll be happily following their relationship in the coming Bunco Babes books.

This book is a fun, sassy, laugh out loud read that will leave you looking for your own Bunco Babes group, and counting the days til the release of the next book in the series! (Hint – It's soon!) I finished this book weeks ago, and I've been itching to pick it back up for a re-read for the past few days! I really loved it and know my copy will be worn and dogeared before the end of the year!
This book has perfect beach read written all over it! What book would you recommend for the beach or to take on vacation?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

The Winner of Sexist Man Alive Is...

According to the random number generator at Random.org, the winner is poster #7 - Chicky!
Drop me an email at cheekyreads(@)gmail.com with your mailing address and I'll send your prize out!

If you didn't win, stop back by often becuase we have lots of giveaways and guest authors coming up!


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Romance Book Review: Lucky Streak by Carly Phillips


Romance Book Review: Lucky Streak
By: Carly Phillips
HQN Books
3 Heart Review
Buy Lucky Streak

Long ago, a witch proclaimed an eternal curse that every Corwin male who married for love would be destined to lose his woman and his fortune...

When Mike Corwin awakens after some wild partying in Vegas $100,000 richer and married to Amber, the gorgeous woman he met the night before, he thinks he's hit the jackpot. The bad news is that Amber's a con who takes his money and runs. Seems the family curse has finally hit him. Hard.

But to Amber, Mike isn't business as usual. If only she didn't need the money to ensure her father's safety, she might actually have fallen for the intense lawman. Instead, she's forced to betray him.

Now Mike's hell-bent on divorce and Amber's on the run...but when a twist of fate reunites them, can they turn their run of bad fortune into a lucky streak?

Lucky Steak is Carly Phillips’ second book in the Corwin Curse series and I found it to be a cute story with lots of fun characters. Not only did I enjoy Amber and Mike, but Mike’s family is loads of fun and the bad guys chasing Amber add some extra excitement.

The storyline is very believable and will probably hit close to the heart for many readers. Amber is a con only because she desperately needs to pay for her father’s nursing home and care. Mike is afraid of true love because his experience with it has only been through his messed up family (and of course the famous Corwin Curse). These are highly likeable characters and I really cheered for them to get together.

I enjoyed the story, but felt that there was so many characters and side stories that it took away from Mike and Amber. In particular, I felt that the scenes with Jason Corwin were forced into the book as a set-up for the next one. I do think his story sounds very interesting, but throwing in his scenes at the end of Lucky Streak just cluttered things up to me.

Lucky Streak was an enjoyable book, but it didn’t totally engross me. This might have been because of all the side stories and characters. I would have liked more focus on Mike and Amber. Although time passes in the book, very little of that time is spent with Mike and Amber together getting to know one another. This left me wanting more to their story. I wanted more Mike and Amber and less side characters. What I can say is that the story is fun to read and the writing made me laugh out loud!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cheeky Reads Featured at The Daily Dose: Spotlight on Reviewers

This week The Daily Dose is putting the spotlight on book reviewers, and first up was CHEEKY READS!

I was honored to be interviewed and had a great time with Heather's questions. Head on over there to check it out and remember they'll have a new reviewer every day this week!

Serial Lovin': Keeping Series Straight - Win The Sexiest Man Alive!


Cheeky Reader Marissa posted a great question last week: If a book is part of a series, why would I read them out of order? This question kept popping up in my head, so I thought it would make a great blog post.

Marissa's question was in reference to my review of Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy since it’s the second book in Erin's Contemporary series about NASCAR drivers. So why did I read that book first? Well, in that instance, it was because I was in the mood for a contemporary, went to the bookshelf, and this book seemed to fit the bill. I completely spaced on this being part of a series, and I even have the first book on my shelf to read too! Both of these books, like most contemps, are stand alone books that share characters. So, even though they are linked, it's not 100% necessary to read them in order to enjoy them!

One thing I find very interesting – Why don't contemporaries do a better job of connecting books in a series? Yes, each book is a complete story in its own right, but very few of them bother to mention on the cover or back blurb that this isn't the first or only book with these characters involved.

Paranormals, Urban Fantasies and even mysteries, usually play up the connection between books on the cover. You'll often see “Book 5 of the xxx series” or “A xxx Mystery” right on the front cover. So why don't contemporaries do this more often? What is it about that particular genre?

In thinking about the other times I've read a series out of order I think it’s because I'm a reader just like you! I browse bookstores to find new authors, and that doesn’t always mean I know if a book is part of a series before I pick it up. Impulse shopping when you work across the parking lot from a bookstore can make you try out all kinds of new books!

I've been introduced to many of my favorite authors not through their first book, but through whatever book I first discovered of theirs. I read book three in Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series without any clue that it was part of a series. What happened? I said, “Whoa! I need more!” That's when I discovered the first two books – now I'm first in line for every new release! I'm constantly buying an author's backlist once I'm introduced to their awesomeness!

There are of course those books or series I've heard about online, so I will start with the first in the series, but I'm a reader like any other – drawn to an individual book like a moth to a flame! Catch my eye with a shiny cover or whet my appetite with a great blurb, and even if I haven't heard about the book or author I'll give it a try.

Have you ever bought a book only to discover that its part of a series, or do you always research books before buying? If you have read a later book in a series, did it inspire you to go back and read the previous books? What do you think about loosely linked Contemporaries that don't mention the series on their cover?

Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a copy of Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist! Winner will be announced Friday July 24th! A big thank you to Marissa for the great question – Send your mailing address to cheekyreads(@)gmail.com and I'll send you something special!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Way to Step Up your Game Lifetime!

Okay - So Lifetime Network isn't exactly a romance book, but it is the network that brings many of our favorite romances to the small screen! (Remember the recent Nora Roberts movies?)

I'm not an everyday Lifetime watcher, but I do check it see what they have on and have found myself watching more than usual lately. First up where the Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover movies on Lifetime Movie Network- I love the Crimes of Fashion books by Ellen Byerrum - the movies were high quality and the casting was great! Head to the website to watch the entire movie online along with extra videos from the cast!

During those movies, I caught the promos for the new show Drop Dead Diva. I couldn't decide if it would be cute, or if the premise of a skinny girl who dies and comes back as a larger size woman would be too preachy about weight and not light enough for laughs.

I shouldn't have worried - I caught the pilot on the other night and it was extremely cute! The shows premise on being more than what you look like on the outside is there - which is great! - but there was also so much more to like. The lead actress is fantastic and I hope Hollywood takes notice! She's what made this pilot really pop for me and I think as the show develops we'll see even greater things from her. Oh, and of course Margaret Cho is awesome as always.

Wanna watch the entire pilot episode online? Check it out! The regular season starts this Sunday at 9PM EST.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Romance Book Review: Hard And Fast By Erin McCarthy



Hard and Fast
By Erin McCarthy
Berkley Sensation
4 Heart Review
Book Excerpt


An experiment in romance...

New to Charlotte, North Carolina, stock car racing country, graduate student Imogen Wilson meets Ty McCordle, a driver who inexplicably has her pulse racing. After an encounter at the track with a woman whose main goal in life is to marry a driver, Imogen realizes she's hit on the perfect topic for her sociology thesis. If she follows the rules on how to get a man, can she steer her way into the hearts of the drivers and establish their
dating – and mating – patterns?

...that's testing the limits of passion.

Although sexy and reckless Ty is the ideal test subject, Imogen knows she can't pursue him for the sake of science. Yet he's the one who's chasing after her, and Imogen realizes that she actually wants to be caught. A Southern gentleman like Ty won't disappoint – he will satisfy her curiosity and make all the risks worthwhile...
As someone who doesn't understand the draw of NASCAR, I was slightly hesitant about this book. I wasn't sure how much a love of the “sport” was needed to enjoy it, but I found the book to be very light on the NASCAR references and this was a definite plus for me.

As the title suggests, the writing in this book is fast paced, but it definitely isn't hard to keep up with. This book was good enough to make me want to spout the cheesiest driving references I could think of...The story revved along and purred like the engine of an expensive car...Erin's writing took me for a ride...okay enough driving references!

What I liked about this book was that there was no huge mystery to be solved, no major revenge plot or a detailed historical setting. Instead, I found a straight up, sexy, contemporary with likable characters and great writing. Oh, and did I mention sexy? The sex scenes in this book were outstanding if you enjoy that kind of thing (cheeky smile appears on this reviewer's face).

I've recently purchased Erin's previous book, Flat-Out Sexy and will save it for when I need another great escape with some hot and steamy elements. I was very impressed with Erin's writing and the way she doesn't bog a story down in too many plot twists, minor characters or overly complex relationship hurdles. Hard and Fast was a perfect, uncomplicated story that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Buy From Amazon

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Authors on Air - Live From RWA 09 - Four Dukes and a Devil


Head on over to the Avon Books Romance Blog and check out the details on two upcoming live radio interviews with the authors of Four Dukes and a Devil!

The interviews start at 11am today and its really easy to listen to these - just click on the link at Avon's Blog!









Monday, July 13, 2009

Those Smart Bitches Rule! Commencing Sony Reader Test Drive

The super-supreme Smart Bitches over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books ran a contest for the opportunity to test drive a Sony Reader...and they selected yours truly! I'm insanely excited to test drive an ereader and can't thank The Bitches, Sony and Harlequin enough!

The Reader arrived this weekend and I'm getting it all set up this morning. Is it okay that I squealed like a teenager reading Teen Beat when I opened the box? So far, I love how slim it is, and the case is magnetic so that it keeps the flaps closed to protect the Reader. So sleek it makes me feel all uptown girl-ish.

So, look for upcoming posts on my experience with the Sony Reader and ebook reviews!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Book Review: The Conqueror By Kris Kennedy


The Conqueror
By Kris Kennedy
Kensington
4 Heart Review

England, 1152. The country is wracked by bloody civil war. Griffyn Sauvage is a valiant knight with a strict moral code of honor. But when his family's estate and vast treasures are seized, he becomes hardened by the betrayal. Now he will go to any lengths for vengence – even if it means forming a union with his most despised enemy by marrying his daughter, Lady Guinevere de l'Ami. Then, Griffyn lays eyes on Gwyn and is completely disarmed...

As war strikes, Gywn is left alone to fight her enemies who want control of her ancestral lands. When Griffyn comes to her rescue, she is grateful that the mysterious, brave knight has risked his life to protect hers. With each passing day, she finds herself drawn to him even as she senses he's hiding a dark secret from her. And when another dangerous adversary closes in on both of them, Griffyn and Gwyn's trust in each other will be put to the ultimate test...

Having not read many (hmm...maybe even ANY!) medieval romances before, I wasn't sure what to expect of this historical romance. I shouldn't have been worried since the story was very creative and it was a nice change not to have all the action taking place at a masquerade ball.

First off let me say the $3.99 price tag alone makes this book a no-brainer to add to your to-buy list! You won't be disappointed in the story either. I liked the combination of war story, revenge plot, romanace and even a treasure hunt! They all came together to make an interesting storyline in a well-written book.

Kris did a good job of side-stepping some story traps she could easily have fallen into. Early on, it looked like the only thing that was going to keep Griffyn and Gwyn apart was a good sit-down discussion, but Kris quickly put my worries to rest with new conflicts and plot twists.

The build up for the treasure hunt also had me slightly concerned, as I thought it would be hard to come up with an ending the book deserved. Never fear though, Kris had it all figured out and the ending was inventive.

Check out Kris's website at http://www.kriskennedy.net/.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Romance Writers (and Readers) Are Smart Cookies

YAY!!!! Some great positive press about romance writers! The rest of the world is finally waking up to the idea that romance novels can be smart, sassy and well-written.

USA TODAY ARTICLE ON SMART ROMANCE WRITERS

SAVE THE SCHOOL OF GALLANTRY - Win Awesome Prizes


Today I'm featuring a special message from Author Delilah Marvelle. Please take the time to read her message and if you love historial romance, you'll really enjoy her books!

In addition to Delilah's contest below, I'm throwing in a prize as well - A BAG FULL OF BOOKS & FREEBIES! Just share a link to this blog post or to Delilah's blog on your site or link to us on twitter. Come back here and let us know where you posted it. It's that easy! The more links you post, the more chances to win! The contest will run until August 4th!

Welcome Delilah!

My Dearest Readers,

When I was in high school, I had a dream. I was going to be the next Stephen King. Heh. Yeah. Stay with me. Please. I knew my ideas were fabulous and I knew all it would take is for an editor to look at it and they would offer me up the moon and the stars and best of all, a contract. I had my girlfriends read everything I wrote. And they kept telling me, “This is fabulous! It's SO funny! Hilarious!” Seeing it really wasn't supposed to BE funny, I immediately changed course realizing I actually had a better handle on being funny than scary. I also figured adding a romance into it would even make it better since that is what I loved to read.

I then entered college as an English major. I was going to be teacher and write during the summers. Even then I was a smart girl who knew I wasn't going to make jack and that I needed a job to support the “creative” one. Throughout all of college I wrote historical romances. One right after another. And kept submitting. And submitting. And submitting. And kept getting rejected and rejected and rejected. In the meantime, I got married. I had two kids. I joined RWA. I got critique partners. I did honed and honed and honed the crap out of my writing. And kept writing and getting rejected. I eventually racked up over 200 rejections and had written over 40 books in those 11 years of trying to get published.

When I finally sold my first historical romance, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, and my second book, LORD OF PLEASURE, I was beside myself. It didn't feel real. To FINALLY arrive at a destination I had been traveling toward for 11 long years seemed like a mirage. Which fortunately, I quickly snapped out of. Because after all, most of my friends are all published and unpublished writers and the stories they all have told me throughout the years made me realize I had to fight with fists up for myself every step of the way. I knew publishers did little to no promotion for their authors, so I spearheaded my own promo, ready to be more than just an author. And even though I was budgeting very well and spending countless hours networking and promoting on websites and blogs, doing tons for free, I still ended up spending $7,000 on my first book. Which was way more than my advance. But hey, every business starts in the red. Right?

Then the reviews started coming in about my series set in 1830 London England about a school that educates men on the topic of love and seduction. People loved it! Wow. It got nominated for awards. Wow. Readers are e-mailing me raving. Wow. Readers from France, Austria, Poland, South Africa and from all over the U.S and the world. Wow. It just kept getting better and better. I was beginning to feel as if every penny I spent was all worth it (even though my family and I weren't going on any vacations and were eating out of cans). Because all that mattered was that my publisher loved me and my readers loved my series.

Come contract time, I'm ready for whatever they wanna throw at me. Or so I thought. Mistress of Pleasure, though completely sold out and unavailable anywhere (unless it's a used copy, some going for a ridiculous amount of $40.00), hadn't done as well as my publisher had hoped. So without waiting for the second book to come out to see if the series was even worth saving, I get a rejection from my own editor citing lack of sales.

I have to say this rejection felt more personal than any of the other two hundred and some rejections I'd received. Because it was no longer “Your book isn't good enough” it became “Your sales aren't good enough.” Since when is an author supposed to be a market guru AND a fabulous writer? Eck.

I love this series. The men in it make me laugh and it broke my heart to think that my readers will never get a chance to read about Lord Brayton, my glorious male virgin. The only alpha virgin I ever plan to write about. Then I realized something, why I am letting a publisher decide what is worth holding on to? Shouldn't that be a reader's job?

Ah. Herein lies the purpose of my post. I am challenging everyone, be they readers or writers to help me do something that's never been done before. Save a series from a death sentence given by a publisher. Can it be done? Who knows. But I eat challenges for breakfast and I hope you do to.
Please join me in saving my series. Come August 4th, tell everyone you know (yes, even you're 72 year old grandfather) to buy the book, Lord of Pleasure. In doing so, you'll have a chance to win one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards. How? Check out my website for details at http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/

That said, thank you for all the support and love everyone has already shown me. Feel free to post and repost this to everyone under the moon and the stars. To all you readers out there, thank you for supporting us writers. To all you writers out there, don't ever give up on your writing. The moment you do, you give up on yourself. Which is why I'm not giving up on my series.

Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Book Trailer for Tortured by Amanda McIntyre



I'm excited to announce that Amanda will be guest blogging on Cheeky Reads on August 6th as part of her Tourtured blog tour! She's fantastic so I can't wait!

Check out Amanda's website and blog for more details about her books.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Win Your Choice of 3 Books at Royal Reviews!

The awesome ladies over at Royal Reviews are letting you choose which of three upcoming releases you would like to win!

Just head over to their site, become a follower, and comment to win! It's a great romance book review site and there are three great books up for grabs...

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Good Luck!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

Lorelei James Guest Blog & Chance to Win!

Head over to the fabulous blog Seductive Musings and hang out with Guest Blogger Lorelei James and a chance to win one a copy of her latest release, Miss Firecracker, or a choice of her backlist!

Here's a look at Lorelei's latest:

MISS FIRECRACKER

...She’s the match, he’s the fuse...an explosive combination

One year ago Willow Gregory entered the Miss Firecracker contest on a dare—and ended up with the crown. As a working carpenter, she’s not exactly the tears-and-tiara type, and after a year of walking the straight and narrow she’s ready to cut loose.

Waking up in a sexy stranger’s bed with no memory of the havoc she wreaked the night before wasn’t quite what she had in mind. Nor was agreeing to his mandate—work for him at the tavern until she repays the damage. Or go to jail.

Blake West thinks he could possibly be the only man alive who could say no to a drunken, horny, naked beauty queen. There’s something about the former Miss Firecracker that makes him want to blow his Mr. Nice Guy persona all to hell.

It helps that Willow is ready to dive headfirst into a no-heartstrings-attached affair. Which fits in perfectly with Blake’s temporary gig managing his friend’s bar.

Every grinding kiss, every stolen touch leads to another…until a harmless little white lie becomes the detonator that could explode their chances at a happily ever after.

Warning: this light-hearted beach read features a hero hotter than the 4th of July and a feisty heroine who knows exactly how to pop his top.

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